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Thor observes the other members of the team while he can. He watches as Tony and Steve butt heads and as Natasha and Clint slink in the shadows. He observes Bruce, the scientist, struggling to contain his rage against repeated provocations.

What he enjoys most is to watch Steve when he thinks he is alone. Even in private, Steve is every inch the soldier. The way he carries himself speaks of discipline and command. Thor has been a warrior all his life, trained from birth to become a weapon and a king, but Steve is different. He is controlled.

He finds himself watching Steve during briefings, watching him when Fury comes to give them orders and bad news. He watches Steve until it becomes more than a matter of mere observation. He is no longer gathering information and making his own judgements about the team.

He watches Steve because he likes to do so.

It is reassuring to see him, always calm, always steady. Thor is not blind to the isolation and pain that he sees in their leader. It is impossible to ignore.

“He’s lonely,” he explains, as he rests in bed with Jane’s fingers running through his hair. She listens to him, a steady rock, a guiding hand. “I feel for him. His pain is my pain.”

“Because he’s part of the team?” Jane asks. “Or more than that?”

Thor isn’t sure how to answer that. He frowns. “I love you,” he states.

“I know you do,” Jane agrees. She presses a kiss against his forehead. “You could bring him home, if you wanted. It must be horrible for him, living in the base.”

The light, casual tone of her voice belies a million hidden implications. Thor looks up at her and wonders, not for the first time, at his luck to have met her during his first moments on Midgard.

The next day, he manages to corner Steve during a quiet lull in the action around the base. He rests his hand on his shoulder and extends an invitation. “Come home with me, Steve,” he offers, beaming. “Jane and I desire the pleasure of your company.”

They desire a great deal more than that, but Thor has enough tact to prevent himself from saying as much in public. Observing Steve has allowed him to appreciate that a high level of discretion is required. He blushes easily.

They order food from a place that Jane loves and they sit together, talking and trading old stories while laughter echoes within the walls of their home. Jane looks beautifully alive and happy while Steve charms her; Thor thinks that he could watch the pair of them for eternity, merely talking, merely laughing.

“It’s getting late,” Steve says, long after midnight. “I should probably head back.”

Jane’s gaze meets Thor’s across the table. For a moment, they allow the silence to hang in the air, meaningful and questioning, before Jane takes hold of one of Steve’s hands. “Stay,” she asks. “We’d really like you to.”

Steve’s expression turns to one of confusion, a question on his lips. Thor takes his other hand, leans closer, and tastes the question in a kiss as it fades to a surprised moan.